The Child Development Institute




The Child Development Institute was established in 1987 to develop programs for early childhood and elementary school teachers, administrators, child development professionals, parents and the community at large.

Through the Empowering Teachers Program, The Learning Child Series, lectures, and occasional papers, we provide a progressive perspective on child development and education. In this perspective, the child is viewed as an individual in the social context, actively engaged in constructing knowledge through interactions with other people and the physical environment. We believe that the child's educational experience should encompass social, emotional, and imaginative aspects of life in concert with intellectual development. Further, we are concerned that schools and other institutions be developed as communities that attend to the interests and needs of children from diverse backgrounds.

The activities of the Child Development Institute, while developed primarily as outreach programs, enhance the educational experience of undergraduate and graduate students on campus. CDI staff and the Faculty Advisory Committee work cooperatively with the College's Early Childhood Center, psychology faculty and graduate programs in Child Development and the Art of Teaching. A Professional Advisory Board provides consultation and support for various projects.


Arietta Slade ’73: 2021 Longfellow Lecture

Reflections on Teaching and Learning in the Age of COVID-19

By Jerusha Beckerman, MSEd ’12

Art of Teaching Faculty, Sarah Lawrence College

All year in the Art of Teaching Saturday Seminar Series we have been inquiring into the college’s theme of E Pluribus Unum as it so beautifully fits with the work of teaching children. This is even more poignantly true now, as the notions of community and togetherness have been so dramatically shifted for all of us, and in some ways rendered abstract. We felt it was therefore all the more important to find a way to make space for our own community to connect and regroup during this heavily challenging time.

So, on Saturday, May 16th, we held our first ever Virtual Saturday Seminar for alumni and friends of the Art of Teaching program. This seminar brought many of our regular, devoted community but because of the unusual times we are in and that we held this seminar via Zoom, many others were able to attend for the first time. We gathered with about 40 educators from across the country and even some from abroad. Many among us are practicing teachers, working in public, independent and charter elementary schools and early childhood programs. We also had directors of early childhood programs, teacher educators, retired teachers, and school counselors. Click here to continue reading the full article...

Children, Childhood & Education at Sarah Lawrence College

Relationship, connection, and collaboration are at the core of life and learning at Sarah Lawrence College – academic, social, students, faculty, staff, on campus and with our community partners. Despite, or perhaps because of, the need for physical distancing and the ever-changing times we find ourselves in, now more than ever we all need to steep ourselves in what we value - relationship, connection, and collaboration.

In the realm of Children, Childhood, and Education, we have long seen these values play out.  Our constituent groups include the graduate programs in the Art of Teaching and Child Development, the Early Childhood Center, the Child Development Institute, and the undergraduate Developmental Psychology faculty.  Over many years, we have come together in a multitude of ways to provide support to children, families, teachers, and other professionals who work with children. We have been working together to identify ways that we can increase connection, provide support, and grow our relationship as a community.

We understand that everyone is overwhelmed and working hard to manage too many things at once in these uncertain times.  Our goal is to provide support in manageable amounts, readily accessible, and easy to return to later. Rather than filling your inbox with an endless stream of emails, we will be using Instagram to share resources and stay connected.   

Look out for our Gryphon Storytime coming soon: we will be posting videos of Sarah Lawrence community members reading their favorite children’s books. We are also planning a Bookmaking Workshop for preschool - early elementary children with two of our alums. And, we are collecting resources you might find helpful. We are also asking you to share with us. Send us your stories, photos, and videos to and let us know if we can post them @slc_childdevelopmentinstitute on Instagram to inspire others.  If you have ideas about how we can support you, please let us know. 

We are with you and we look forward to being able to come together again in person when it is safe to do so.  Until then, we will find other ways to connect, collaborate, and care for the relationships we hold so dear.